7 Malicious Ways Cities Are Excluding Homeless People, Rather Than Helping Them
How are cities in your area unfairly targeting people experiencing homelessness?
The lack of unlocked public bathrooms in Chicago, specifically in parks and public transportation, is a disgrace. The few portable potties are left dirty and unsanitary. Washrooms are a human need.
This is epidemic. Not just my city or your town, it truly is everywhere and I want to get to the bottom of "why"? Like others posting herein I have questions. These are questions that I've posed to my local city council as a starting point to addressing the problem: 1) Who are these people? 2) Where did they come from? 3) How did they get here? 4) What are they looking or hoping for?
My reason for starting there is because I find it hard to believe that one day the guy next door just quit his job, went to the garage, grabbed some camping equipment and decided he was just going to go squat around town for the rest of his days, leaving the comfort of his home, and get by on handouts. Not only that, are other municipalities redistributing their problem to others? But more importantly, these people have family somewhere. Family that would help unless they've burned every bridge they've crossed.
When the ledgers are closed on the Georgia Senate runoff the tally is probably going to be north of $90 million. That's one race, one seat. An obscene amount of money. Money that would have gone a long way to figuring out whatever homeless problem Georgia may have. I don't know what that might be because I live in Oregon but I do know this. We have a lot of work that needs to be done. Work that our public employees apparently no longer do even though they are paid well and have a generous pension plan that we pay into on their behalf. And despite our lousy winter weather we have a lot of people living on the streets.
How about a hand up instead of a hand out? Bring back the Civilian Conservation Corp. It's good for self-esteem to receive for something you've put effort into. Our highways here are littered with trash. Recent wildfires have left forested areas in need of replanting, structures to be rebuilt, infrastructure to be reclaimed.
Creating more agencies that pander to the problem and throwing more taxpayer money at homelessness has only made it worse. And non-profits, in their well meaning ways, have to a fault enabled it to fester as well. Instead of viewing this as mean spirited the approach needs to be tough love. Because it really is not fair that public and private spaces should be open to squatters to degrade. That children enroute to school or adults going to work should have to weave a path through and step over the debris field of homelessness is not okay.
A solution begins with leadership which we are generally lacking in at all levels of government these days. Strong, principaled, whats-best-for-all leadership. We need to find our way back there. And quick.
First of all, CHARITY STARTS AT HOME! We are sending billions of dollars to all other countries and are not providing help to our homeless CITIZENS! It's pitiful in any area!
We need real solutions to these real problems. For some it may be getting a job, getting the correct medical attention, providing rehabilitation or psychological help.
If we spent even $1billion providing resources, support and guidance to the 1/2 million homeless people, perhaps we would have a much larger, productive work force.
This is AMERICA! From what I see, we are becoming a third world country wry very fast! With the cost of goods, utilities, etc. the amount of homelessness is going going to increase 10 fold.
I'm sorry. Is this article advocating that we allow the homeless to sleep wherever they want?
I'm fairly liberal, but that isn't a solution to the homeless problem. I don't think their tents should be destroyed, but I do feel the need to respect the building owners and residents who also deserve clean, people-free building entrances and the like.
Personally, I think my city needs to split the homeless into three different groups and address each group's issues differently: 1) people who are homeless and don't want to be; 2) people who are homeless because of mental health or drug issues; 3) people who have chosen to be homeless (these are people who would turn down housing if given the option).
Don't get me wrong; we don't address ANY of those issues well enough right now. But those are three separate problems that can't all be solved by building more housing (which isn't going all that well either).
Ben Franklin said "If you want to help the poor, help them feel uncomfortable in their poverty."
Embracing of homelessness has to stop. If you want to help them then enroll them in job training classes. Make it necessary to become employed by limiting the time that a person can receive tax payer funds (6 months?).
This topic is not about helping vs not helping. It is about defining boundaries. I support helping the homeless but enabling the expansion of homelessness is not helping.
Gifted article. We really need to fund social services for mental health in a big way. Ever since Ronald Reagan closed the mental health facilities and shut down the program Carter was going to implement, it's become worse every year till we are at the crisis we have now.
The non homeless have rights also. They should not have to walk past filthy streets crowded with the homeless and all their paraphanalia. The majority of the homeless have drug and mental health which pose a theeat of aggressive and unpredictable behaviors.
That said, we have poured tons of money into addressing the homeless situation and nothing improves. Building housing alone is useless if the drug, alcohol and mental health issues are not addressed. We keep legalizing drugs, have open borders with tons of drugs pouring in, no adequate way to triage and help these people so stop throwing money indiscriminately at the problem and next year ask for more money. Enough! There is nothing compassionate nor helpful to allowing people to sleep and live on public areas anywhere they want. If you were serious about wanting to fix the problem you would be doing it.
Two of the biggest issues not addressed in the media on this issue is mental illness and drug addiction. It's a large component of this population and though it may sound bad, bringing back mental institutions should be looked at. Letting mentally ill people have the freedom to be unmediated, aka make poor decisions off medication simply is not working and adds to the problem.
This is antidotal, but I know of someone who moved to my state and in the past if her husband went off his meds she was able to put him in a program and get him back on his meds, then things would go back to normal for the majority of the time. After moving here, as his spouse (and a psychologist) she was no longer able to do that because he had the right to decide whatever he wanted, this includes times when he went off his meds and wasn't in his right mind. So, the last time she saw him was about five years ago when he went off his meds, she wasn't allowed to put him in a program, so he ended up as a homeless person on the street where he is to this day.
Obviously, financial inequality is also a problem and there's a lot of pieces to that issue, but addressing the mentally ill, many who are also self-medicating with drugs is a very big part of the problem that nobody talks about addressing. They want to build tiny homes here at a cost of nearly $800,000 per tiny home. This is ridiculous and not a viable solution.
Looking to housing and treating the mentally ill, which is woefully underfunded, would go a long way to solving homeless issues and the crime associated with it.
The richest country in the world should not have a homeless problem, especially of this magnitude.
There may not be any easy answers, but denying people a place to seek shelter is cruel and counterproductive.
We must work with experts in housing, psychology, substance recovery, and other fields to determine the best ways to help people find and stay in shelters or get the mental and medical assistance they need to get back on their feet.
We can't incarcerate our way out of this problem, and if we're not focusing on building more affordable housing and shelters, then we're not going to see less homelessness.
I wish our political leaders across the country were focused more on compassionate and solutions-oriented ways to address this.
This cities have taken some very serious steps to ensure that the homeless are not living on the streets in front of businesses or under overpasses. There is an old saying that when you are trying to let your grown child know the time to leave your home is now is to do the following:
Break their cereal bowl and bend their spoon.
Take their bed apart.
Put a large box like a refrigerator box in the backyard.
These cities are doing similar things to say living on our city streets is no longer acceptable.
However reasonable solutions for the homeless that you ignored need to be available. Like making homeless shelters available to feed and house the homeless. Training for jobs should be available and low income housing available to them. Cities that have old retired military bases or old school buildings can make barracks available to stay in. Old school buildings can be made in to apartments. An 30 student classroom can be turned into 8 people sleeping arrangements. The gyms can be turned into training centers and the offices into staff offices like counseling centers. The nurse station can be turned into treatment centers and cafeteria facilities can be turned into feeding centers. Breakfast can be as simple as a biscuit a piece of fruit a carton of milk like we use to get in school and a cup of coffe or tea. For those residents that want to work there, they can be used for security or cleaning bathrooms and general cleaning or if they have previously worked in a job like carpentry or something else they could be provided jobs when available. They would be paid minimum wage for the work they do. Classes in a couple of the classrooms can be used for studying and testing for an GED.
An old factory building could also be setup to house the homeless. Drug in any of these facilities would result in prosecution and removal from all of these facilities.
Smoking in the buildings would be prohibited with the same rules of removal. A police station would be setup with a few jail cells for violating the rules including no alcoholic beverages on the campus. A court would be held daily in the facility for violating the guidelines or laws.
This program is more humane and maybe can help those that wanted to be helped and for sure would be cheaper.
After 30 days of the program set up all people on the streets or in a homeless situation will be advised of the program and asked to move to the provided center.
They will have three days to move on or into the shelter, their choice.
Now the fact is that many if not most of these people that have lived on the streets have gathered many belongings requiring a large shopping cart to move.
They will have their personal possessions inventoried and stored in a warehouse under lock and key. They will be given 5 changes of used clothing including new socks and underwear plus 2 pair of shoes. They will be given personal cleaning products like a bar of soap, comb, toothpaste and toothbrush. Underarm deodorant and razor and shaving cream and shampoo. They will be expected to use these items after signing in. One footlocker will be provided with lock and key for each resident to keep their personal items. Washer and dryer facilities will be provided for free. Each resident will have their name in all clothing and a laundry bag will be provided. Every 3 days the will turn in their laundry and in the next day they will pick up the laundry. A wall locker with key will also be provided for hanging clothes and storage.
Lunches would be cold cut sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a piece of fruit and ice tea or kool aid. A sack lunch would be available for those that work off campus. Supper would be things like chili, spaghetti, salad night, macaroni and cheese or soup night and hotdogs night even stew night.
Grocery stores and charities and churches would be as to give tax deductible donations of items food or clothing. Goodwill type stores could allow individuals with paperwork to come pick out those 5 shirts and pants and a jacket and sign for it and a copy of the purchase order would be sent back to the center to be paid by the center.
I used to live in Lubbock Texas back in the 1960's and ther was a section of town on "A" street and 19th street that was hundreds of homeless people and families living in poverty like wood and cardboard houses. It looked like a junkyard. The city council bought 100 acres of land about ten miles out in the country and gave the occupants ten days to move to that new location. A few did the rest were rounded up and put on school buses and moved to the new location. Their houses and possessions were bulldozed down and put in 18 wheeler dump trucks and taken to the dump. The city provided some wood and mail and shingles and in 30 days there was a pretty good city much better Taliban the swollar they used to live in. They even elected a city council and police department and ended up with water and electricity, to get utilities you were hooked up and you joined the community to pay a share of the bill.
The children were picked up by the school bus and taken to school and returned home.